WRC

FIA president Jean Todt frustrated by WRC's slow uptake on hybrid technology

FIA president Jean Todt has admitted he is frustrated at the slow progress made by the World Rally Championship in introducing electric or hybrid technology to the championship.

The Frenchman, who is a big supporter of green technology and pushed for F1 to go hybrid in 2009 as well as helping to set-up the all-electric Formula E series, blames the WRC manufacturers for pushing back on hybrid rules.

"It is a big frustration for me not to see that rallying has engaged on at least some hybridisation and new technology," Todt told Motorsport Week. "The reason is, I am told by people who are there to run the business, that manufacturers don't want it. They don't want to change the regulation.

"For me, this is completely no position; when I go to motor shows in Frankfurt, Paris, China, Japan, Geneva, I only see new technologies.

"It's frustrating to see in an FIA world event they don't want new technologies. But now, finally the manufacturers say we need some hybridisation. The technical people at the FIA, with the input of the manufacturers, are working to implement it in 2022."

Outline regulations for the next generation of cars – to be brought in after the current five-year homologation cycle ends in 2021 – will be revealed later this year and are expected to include hybrid, or even all-electric, power units.

M-Sport boss Rich Millener said manufacturers were now on-board with the need to move forward in 2022.

"There will be some form of hybrid in 2022, that's a must," Millener said last week. "It's the only way some of the current manufacturers will stay in the sport and it's the only way for us to attract new manufacturers.

"It's so important to get those regulations out this year. If we can have those in the middle of this season then that gives the sport six months to go to possible new manufacturers to say, 'This is what we've got, do you want it?'"

He admitted the process of introducing a hybrid solution had taken a long time, adding: "We all know we want it, but the problem is agreeing what we want. Everybody is putting forward ideas for the best solution that will suit their own product and that's understandable. The FIA needs to take those views away and come back and tells us what we're going to do.

"We need to know, for example, will there be common parts and, if so, what will they be? The main argument seems to be between low-voltage and high-voltage hybrid systems - but how do we integrate those and what do we use as a base? Will there be some kind of standard system across the cars? We're in limbo right now, so we need some direction. We also need to know as we at M-Sport will need help from outside."